Heaven, Easter

Easter: Looking Past Death, Straight into Heaven

Today, on Good Friday, we contemplate the death of Jesus Christ. The Son of God was broken so that broken people could be called sons of God. The holy Messiah was counted as sin so that sinners could be counted as holy (Isaiah 53:5). It is the paradox of our universe; the best plot-twist of all time.

As fallen human beings, we were dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1-3). Some of you, reading this, maybe still are. But not only did God become human, he breached the gates of death itself on a blood-soaked cross. He went were no one – not even Satan – ever imagined an immortal God would or could go. He came down to earth, but then he delved deeper, into the dark hopelessness of the grave.

But Jesus is hope. He’s the Light of the World. And if hope enters a hopeless situation, can it remain hopeless? If the Light of the World enters the black depravity of our souls, can a shadow of uncertainty remain to defy him?

We were conceived in sin and born into spiritual death (Psalm 51:5). In a sense, we all die twice. First, we’re dead spiritually, unable to merit Heaven or fulfill the just standards of a holy God. And then, we will die physically, unable to cling to eternity with the finite flesh of our mortal bodies.

But Jesus never died in the spiritual sense. He was born of a virgin, fully human, yet without a sinful nature. Remaining fully God, he lived a perfect life, fulfilled divine prophecy, and by him God the Father was “well pleased.”

It is interesting to note that when God created life through Christ in Genesis
(John 1:1-5), he said, “It is very good,” but it wasn’t until God created new life through Christ on the cross, that he said, “It is finished.”

And now, thanks to Jesus, we can be resurrected twice too. If we call him our Savior, we are spiritually resurrected out of our state of spiritual death. The Spirit of God enters into our hearts, works faith and hope in us, and shapes us more and more after the image of Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Someday, we’ll be resurrected physically as well. Into that Place where there is no sickness, deficiency, suffering, or death, we will rise with newness of life. Our bodies will be reunited with our souls, and like our souls will then be perfect, whole, and incorruptible. No longer will we be susceptible to illness or injury. No longer will we wither and weather in the current of time. (Isaiah 25:8, Revelation 21:1-8)

In the collection, Letters to an American Lady, C.S. Lewis penned comforting words to Mary Willis Shelburne who, being old and frail, was contemplating the end of her life. Unbeknownst to him, Lewis was only five months away from meeting Christ face to face himself.

“Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave it with regret? There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

When I was young and naïve, I used to pray that Jesus would wait “just a little longer” to return, so that I could see the world, have children, and build a better life than the one I had. Now that I am grown, I perceive a world that I’m afraid to send my children into; a world corrupted by evil and swallowed up in death. I long for the day that Christ returns. I weep with sorrow and gratitude when I read of his crucifixion, and I weep with joy and hope when I read of his resurrection and the Place he is preparing for us. (John 14:1-3)

There will come a time when Easter is no longer a day of expectation. There is a place where no joys are hidden, no good prize need be searched for, and no grave need be passed through. This old life with its broken ways and corrosive nature is passing us by, steadily and surely, second by second. We are slipping – one gray hair, one tired nod, one care-worn wrinkle at a time – into eternity.

But, oh Death, where is your sting? Oh Grave, where is your victory? (1 Corinthians 15:50-58) This Easter weekend, let’s remember that death will be swallowed up by life as we breath our final mortal breath. We will pass through the darkness and be born into shining light. What have we to fear when Heaven is on the other side?

Death is On My Side, by Demon Hunter:

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